Bullying. Bodyline. Not in the spirit of the game.
These are just some of the accusations leveled at Australia’s fast bowlers and their tactics of bowling short at England’s tail end batsmen during this Ashes series.
But Trent Copeland is adamant England would be doing exactly same thing. If they could.
With the fifth and final Test due to start at the Sydney Cricket Ground tomorrow, Australia will look to finish the series on a high having won back the urn when they were victorious by an innings in the third Test in Perth.
A crucial part of Australia winning the series was their fast bowling trio – Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and St George paceman Josh Hazlewood – and their ability to knock over England’s tail cheaply.
Whats missing from this article? The fact that ENG would do exactly the same IF they were fast enough to do so, and the Aussie lower order players work hard enough at their batting so that it's not an issue. Sorry, but its TEST cricket. Suck it up. #Asheshttps://t.co/IFs7aH94Nc— Trent Copeland (@copes9) December 20, 2017
Part of their tactics has been short, fast bowling, which has seen a number of England batsmen hit. This has drawn criticism from some fans and sections of the media.
But St George captain Copeland, who has played three Tests for Australia and was named the NSW Sheffield Shield player of the year for 2016-17, told the Leader what Australia were doing was simply part of the game.
“Honestly, it’s as simple as this. You play the game within the rules you’re given,” he said.
“If the umpires deem anything untoward is happening they step in. But to be honest with you the only reason England don’t do it is because they can’t.
“You can bet your bottom dollar when Australia tour South Africa [in March] Kagiso Rabada and Morne Morkel will be doing the exact same thing. It’s a part of Test cricket. If you’re not good enough to handle it then don’t play.”
The only reason England don’t do it is because they can’t.Trent Copeland
While Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins bowl upwards of 140 kilometres per hour – pushing 150km/h – England’s attack led by veterans Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad have lacked the same pace to intimidate Australia’s batsmen and tail.
And, as Copeland points out, Australia’s bowlers have also worked hard on their batting to be able to deal with any threats.
“It’s not nice. It’s not easy. No one goes out there and enjoys facing bouncers,” Copeland said.
“But the reason why people bowl bouncers is because it messes batsmen’s feet up and you can get people out by giving them the full ball they’re not expecting. It’s a genuine tactic that’s used for nothing other than to create a dismissal easier. It’s just part of cricket.”
Copeland reserved special praise for his Saints teammate Hazlewood, describing him as the best bowler in the world.
“He’s shown it over a long period of time now. He’s in that McGrath mould, bowls well in any conditions and finds anything and everything out of a wicket. Then you saw in Perth what happens when he has something to work with like that crack,” he said.
“The three guys bowl so well in tandem along with Nathan Lyon. They’ve all got the art of reverse swing, they can bowl with the new ball. They’ve all got real pace, height and bounce.
“Honestly, I think their combination is as good, if not in terms of quantity of wickets yet, but as good as that Lee, McGrath, Gillespie attack.
“The boys want to win 5-0. The Ashes is about demoralising the opposition and winning back the urn but also winning 5-0 to help get back to being the number one Test nation. And you want to do that not by winning 3-0 but 5-0, to send a message that we’re dominating again.”